Wednesday, April 22, 2009


R to L: Stephanie Hemphill, Claudia Harrington, Me, Kitty Donohoe, Paula Yoo, Joyce Lee Wong. Photo by Joan Bransfield Graham.

There comes a time in most writers' lives when they decide to seek out a critique group. Years ago when I was writing my YA novel-in-poems, I decided to seek out the best novel-in-poems novelist I knew in Los Angeles. I called Julie Williams (ESCAPING TORNADO SEASON), who called Stephanie Hemphill (THINGS LEFT UNSAID & YOUR OWN, SYLVIA) and Claudia Harrington. Claudia called Kitty Donohoe who introduced us to Paula Yoo (GOOD ENOUGH) and Joyce Lee Wong (SEEING EMILY) at the SCBWI Nationals in LA. Paula created our Google Group which brought us into the 21st century and declared us KIDSCRIBBLERS. We are now cemented together though writing, friendship and love, and all of our work is stronger because we have each other.

Over time, Julie moved to Minnesota, I stopped writing YA to focus on PBs plus started agenting, and novels-in-poems are only a portion of what we, as a group, write. However, Kidscribblers endures because it is the 'right' group for each of us.

Finding the right critique group is not often easy. I hope the posts below help you decide if a critique group is for you and how to find the one that will improve your writing.
  1. Collyn Justus on Critique Groups and Critiquing
  2. Margot Finke on Starting Your Own Critique Group
  3. Agent Chip MacGregor on Critique Groups
  4. Darcy Pattison on Different Critique Groups Meet Different Needs
  5. Angela Ackerman on Is It Time to Leave Your Critique Group


  1. I couldn't agree more. I've been with a group for about a year now and they are three amazing people I trust and connect with on so many levels. They're honest, constructive, and my writing is better because of them. : )

  2. It's a beautiful picture. A good critique group is the best gift a writer can give themselves, I think. :)

  3. Don't know what I'd do without my critique group. They give me support, confidence, and reality checks. I wouldn't be the writer I am without them.

  4. This is a great post! My critique group and I just started a blog -I'm going to link to this post on our site

    Thanks again, Jill!

  5. I was part of an awesome crit group in NJ. I recently moved to NC and what was the first thing I did? Seek out a new critique group! I'm still not fully unpacked but my new critique group is six people strong. Writing is such a solitary action. Having people who "get it" buoys me.

  6. Hey Robin, you're STILL part of "an awesome group in NJ"

  7. The Query Tracker blog ( had a great article recently about joining/starting a crit group.

    I love my online crit group. We've become close friends, and we're there for each other through the ups and downs. But that doesn't stop us from being tough and challenging each other to do better.

    Thanks, Jill, for the great post.

  8. My writing and my critique group are inextricably linked. I can't imagine one without the other!

  9. It's wonderful to see a group of close-knit writers.

    I have two critique groups now because they each bring something different to the manuscript review. Couldn't do it without either of them!



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